Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats


A family, Meg-aladapididae, has been  quite  lately  founded
;>y  Dr.   Forsyth   Majorl   to   include  the  remains  of  a gigantic
ixtinct Lemur from Madagascar, which when alive, so far as we
>an judge from the skull, must have been three or four times the
lize of the Common Cat.   The name Megaladapis wtadagascariensis
vas given to the fossil on account  of certain resemblances to the
Jso extinct Adapis*     It differs from  other Lemurs  in a number
if characters which  jointly warrant  its  inclusion  in  a  distinct
amily.     The small size of the orbits suggest a diurnal life;  the
leep  mandibles, which,  unlike what is found  in   other Lemurs,
re completely blended  at the suture, point to the existence of a
towling   apparatus,   as   in   M/cetes.     The   low   brain-case   is   a
haracter which is found in so many extinct Mammalia belonging
o many different   orders  that  it   weighs   neither   one   way nor
tie other in considering the systematic position of the  animal.
'he shape of the molars, which are three in each half of each jaw
3 in other Lemurs, is, according to the discoverer, like that of
he   genus Xiepilemur.      The  incisors  and  the   canines   are  not
nown.    Of a still larger form, M. insignis, the  molar  teeth  are
The Apes differ from the Lemurs in that the teats are
Lways restricted to the thoracic region ; the orbit, though sur-
>unded by bone as in the Lemurs (and in Tv/paia, a very Lemur-
ke Insectivore), does not open freely behind into the temporal
»ssa as in Lemurs (except Tarsius). The lachrymal opening is
iside the orbit instead of outside; the cerebral hemispheres
re more highly developed, and conceal, or nearly conceal, the
>rebelluni; the upper incisors are in close contact; a few other
>ints are mentioned under the description of the characters of
ie Lemurs. There are altogether about 212 species of Monkeys
id Apes. They are tropical and subtropical in range, and, with
it few exceptions, are impatient of cold.
The Monkeys are primarily divisible into two great divisions,
hich have been termed, on account of the characters of the nose,
1 JPML Trans, clxxxv. B, 1894, p. 15.
a It seems to be possible that this great Lemur was extaut so lately as 1658*
lea a creature possibly answering to it was described by de Flacourt,